5 common myths surrounding self-publishing


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The publishing industry has undergone a radical transformation in recent years. Gone are the days when traditional means of publication were the only options for aspiring writers.

Self-publishing has taken the world by storm, but sadly, several long-held myths make the process and reality obscure to those looking to break into the industry.

The truth is that self-publishing, especially in the eBook industry, is currently a rising tide that has increased dramatically year on year. Up to 34% of all eBook sales are now self-published – a figure that was virtually zero just 15 years ago.

The opportunity and the means are available with self-publishing if you have the passion for it. It’s just a matter of knowing the reality to get the most out of this alternative route to publishing.

Myth: Traditional print is more prestigious

In the past, self-publishing carried the stigma of being of inferior quality compared to works published in the more traditional press. Self-publishing was seen as the second choice for those who failed to find a publisher, but that’s just not the current landscape. Countless books that are now considered classics did not find a publisher at first. Often what a publisher decides to publish depends more on its brand and potential profitability than on the actual quality of the writing.

Critical praise in the form of writing competitions and awards began to recognize the work of self-published books as equal to the prestige of books published by traditional outlets. Where and how a book was published doesn’t necessarily have to do with the quality these days, and self-published works are just as likely to achieve critical success as any others.

The raw numbers show that self-published authors are making serious progress as they now represent so many like 40% of market share.

Myth: Self-publishing is a less lucrative route

In terms of financial sustainability, self-publishing is just as valuable as other means, and in many cases, even more so. As any writer knows, making real money consistent with words is not easy.

Almost 80% of writers earn less than $ 1,000 a year, while some earn more than eight figures for their work. The main trade-off between a traditional newspaper business and self-publishing is the classic “security versus opportunity” dilemma.

An editor will definitely help marketing, distribution, and help a writer find and connect with an audience. They will also only leave authors about 10% of the sales royalties. Those who self-publish usually keep anywhere 50-70%.

When applied over the years to a large audience, these numbers quickly add up to affect a writer’s bottom line. With self-publishing, there is more work to be done on the writer’s side, but you retain all the rights and a much larger slice of the sales pie. It may be seen as a riskier choice, but for those who want control, it’s a tempting option.

This is by no means the easiest path for aspiring writers, but for those who are up for the job, there are plenty of reasons why self-publishing might be the right decision.

Related: 5 pitfalls to avoid when writing your first business book

Myth: It means less work for the writer

While self-publishing has fewer parties involved compared to a corporate publishing house, it is by no means a shortcut around the work required for a book to be successful. Even the greatest authors need support to thrive, and if it is not provided by a publisher, it is the writer’s responsibility to meet those same needs. Self-publishing gives the writer more creative freedom and control over their work, but there is also an associated increase in responsibility and risk.

Finding the right editors, designers, and marketing teams are tasks that take time and money to get done right. Coordinating, communicating, and working with them for months on end is a skill often overlooked by introverted writers.

This does not necessarily mean that all of this work has to be done by the writer himself of course, and it is always possible to get support during self-publishing.

Myth: Self-publishing means no external support

Some think that self-publishing means you won’t have any support for your work, but the amount of help a self-publishing writer will have is directly related to the resources and time they are ready. to devote to the project.

One can easily find and hire a team of several people to help them in areas beyond their skill set, and they will work more or less the same way an editor would. This can be costly, however, as authors report they spend an average of $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 on publishing – and sometimes up to $ 50,000.

For minimalists, however, you can choose to manage everything in-house and slowly to keep costs at a more manageable level. It’s just a matter of preference. Each writer will have different goals and needs with their book, but the road to self-publishing doesn’t mean you will be cut off from all forms of support.

Related: How to write a book (and finish it) in 5 steps

Myth: You have to choose a path all the time

There was a time when people believed that big publishers wouldn’t work with people who had already self-published. In reality, there is nothing further from the truth, and publishers regularly seek and hire writers based on their previously self-published works.

Of course, writers cannot be expected to use the same book. Once a book is already published, it cannot be repackaged for traditional publications. In the future, however, they are still free to work with traditional publishing houses and vice versa. It is healthy to experiment with both forms if the opportunity arises. You need to know what you’re looking for in a publisher.

Knowing where and how to publish is an important crossroads for any writer who has worked long and hard on their manuscript. While traditional publishing presses certainly have their advantages, don’t let the false myths surrounding self-publishing distract you from this increasingly popular path.


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